Montrose Mennonite Meetinghouse (West Montrose, Ontario, Canada)
In 1950 the Markham-Waterloo Mennonite Conference group built its first meetinghouse about two kilometers north of West Montrose, Ontario at 6101 Middlebrook Rd. It previously had always shared meetinghouses with the Old Order Mennonites. This meetinghouse deviated from the traditional Old Order amphitheater seating arrangement in which the pulpit was midway along the long wall of the building. Rather the interior resembled Mennonite Conference of Ontario churches that had the pulpit at the gable-end of the building facing pews rather than benches.
When the Goshen Meetinghouse was built five years later it returned to the customary Old Order amphitheater style, and Markham meetinghouses have since been constructed in this Old Order style. Markham meetinghouses remained distinctive in providing lobbies for both men and women; Old Order meetinghouses have lobbies only for the women.
The reasons for the unique seating arrangement at the Montrose Meetinghouse are not clear. Several views have emerged -- one suggested the availability of some used pews at the time of construction; these were installed in the "cathedral" style of the conference churches. Another view has proposed that when the Markham Mennonites separated from the Old Order, some members wanted to express points of difference from the Old Order. However over the subsequent years the desire to maintain similarities to the Old Order prevailed.
The Montrose meetinghouse was constructed by the Markham-Waterloo conference because of increasing population in the area. In 1978 the meetinghouse was enlarged.
On 16 April 1978 Minister George Brubacher from the Elmira congregation suddenly passed away while preaching at the Montrose meetinghouse. Silence filled the meetinghouse as he was carried outside and Minister Noah Martin arose to proceed with the service.
The Montrose congregation experienced continued growth, as did neighboring congregations. In June 2009 a portion of the Elmira and North Woolwich congregations were split off and about five families from Montrose joined them to form a new congregation. This new congregation used the Montrose Meetinghouse on alternating Sundays and was known as Montrose West. The old Montrose congregation was renamed Montrose East.
While the planning was underway to establish the Montrose West congregation, a request was made to renovate the Church to arrange the seating into the amphitheater style like all the other Markham-Waterloo churches. A meeting confirmed a favorable consensus to renovate and make the changes. This occurred in the spring of 2009 and was finished in time for the formation of the Montrose West congregation. The pulpit is now midway along the north wall with seating in the amphitheater style. This was the first time since 1950 that the Markham-Waterloo Mennonite Conference churches all have the same seating arrangement.
Minister Clare Frey from the Elmira congregation lived in the geographical area of Montrose West so became the home minister. Deacon Elmer Martin also lived in this area so was now the resident Deacon. Minister Elverne Martin served in the Montrose East geographical area and in June 2010 Richard Weber was ordained Deacon for Montrose East. Because of growth in the conference these two districts now came under Bishop Gordon Bauman’s leadership.
Earlier the language of worship was in English and German, but by 2000 worship was entirely in English.
Frey, Aden. "The Markham-Waterloo Conference of Ontario." Research paper, Conrad Grebel College, 1972, Mennonites in Canada collection, "70-Markham-Waterloo." Mennonite Archives of Ontario
Hiebert, Esther. "History of the Markham-Waterloo Conference." Research paper, Canadian Mennonite Bible College, 1980, 62 pp.
Address: 6101 Middlebrook Road, West Montrose, Ontario (0.5 km. north of Line 86)
Denominational Affiliation: Markham-Waterloo Mennonite Conference
Table 1: Montrose Mennonite Meetinghouse Pastoral Leaders
Table 2: Montrose Mennonite Meetinghouse Membership
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MLA style: Epp, Marlene and Paul Martin. "Montrose Mennonite Meetinghouse (West Montrose, Ontario, Canada)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. October 2010. Web. 20 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/M6587.html.
APA style: Epp, Marlene and Paul Martin. (October 2010). Montrose Mennonite Meetinghouse (West Montrose, Ontario, Canada). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/M6587.html.